EHRC report finds disabled people face increasing exclusion

The UK Independent Mechanism (UKIM) has published its update report to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The report gives an update on the steps taken by the UK governments to act on recommendations from the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to improve the lives of disabled people in the UK. It notes the progress that has been made by UK governments, as well as the areas where improvement is still needed.

The body cites “deeply concerning” evidence that despite government pledges to improve conditions for the nearly 14 million disabled Britons, their situation is getting worse across the UK. The report found that less than a quarter of people with learning difficulties, a speech impediment or mental health conditions were in employment.

Its report to the UN committee on disability rights that “more and more disabled people are finding it difficult to live independently and be included, and participate, in their communities on an equal basis”.

More disabled people live in poverty than non-disabled people, and more are bullied in schools, it says. Forty per cent of disabled people do not feel valued by society, according to research by Scope, half feel excluded and only 42% feel the UK is a good place for disabled people to live.

The findings have been backed by disabled people and campaign groups who said “we are slipping back to darker times”. The government responded that it was “committed to building a society which is fully inclusive of disabled people” and that ministers were grasping the problems.

EHRC Chair, David Isaac, has said:

"A year on from the damning UN verdict on the rights of disabled people across the UK, we have sadly seen little action or commitment to address the UN’s recommendations.

"Changes to our social security system and health and social care budgets make disabled people feel like second class citizens and their rights to live independently have been impacted.

"Everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living and the rights of disabled people must be made a priority if we are to have a fair and equal society."